International Press Centre Condemns Attacks on Journalists During Elections

Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director,  International Press centre
Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director,
International Press centre

The International Press Centre (IPC) in Lagos has condemned  incidents of attacks on journalists and other media professionals during the presidential and National Assembly elections that took place on February 23, 2019.

IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said: “The various attacks on journalists during the general elections are condemnable as they also affect the credibility of the electoral process.”

He added, “the rights of journalists to monitor and report election day activities are constitutionally guaranteed and recognized by various regulatory frameworks such as, the Electoral Act, the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage and therefore should be respected.”

IPC said information gathered by its media and election situation room revealed that not less than five journalists and media professionals were subjected to one form of harassment or the other including arrest, denial of access to collation centres and gunshot injury.

IPC cited specific incidents including the arrest of Nwanosike Onu of The Nation, Geoffrey Anyanwu of Sun, David-Chyddy Eleke of Thisday, Vincent Ujumadu of Vanguard and Tony Okafor of Punch by a team of fully armed police officers close to the residence of Mr. Peter Obi (Vice Presidential Candidate PDP), Anambra where they had gone to cover him during the voting exercise.

The organization said it also documented the shooting of Reginald Dei, a government house photographer at his residence by unidentified armed men said to be in military uniform at Oweikorogha, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

It said information at its disposals also showed that some groups of journalists were barred from monitoring results collation in Ugheli North, Delta State; Amuwo/Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State; Bauchi and Kebbi State.

Mr. Arogundade therefore called on the security agencies and INEC to carry out appropriate investigations with a view to prosecuting or sanctioning the alleged perpetrators of the attacks against the concerned journalists and media professionals.